SC expects govt to appoint Lokpal at the earliest

K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, submitted before a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi that the selection committee headed by the PM.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it expected the Centre to appoint the Lokpal at the earliest possible date after the Centre contended that a meeting to appoint the eminent jurist in the selection panel has already been held on April 10.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, submitted before a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi that the selection committee, headed by the prime minister and consisting of the Chief Justice of India and Lok Sabha speaker had met and recommended the name of eminent jurist in the panel.

"The said recommendation is pending approval," he said.

In view of his submission, the court refrained from passing any order.

"As steps for appointment of the Lokpal have been taken, we do not consider it expedient to pass any further orders at this stage, except to express the expectation of the court that appointment of Lokpal will be made at the earliest possible," the bench said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, said the government was dragging its feet to appoint the Lokpal.

So far, it has not amended the law or passed an ordinance to do away with the necessity of having the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) by replacing it with the leader of largest Opposition party in Lok Sabha, as was done in case of other laws, he said.

Notably, Mallikarjuna Kharge, who is leader of the largest Opposition party Congress, had earlier declined to participate as 'special invitee' in the meetings, held as part of the process to appoint the anti-corruption ombudsman.

The court posted the contempt petition filed by the NGO for further consideration on May 15.

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